Theatre Bay Area Chatterbox

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Claire's Book Club: The Inciting Incident

I have the same bad habit most book (and theatre) lovers have: I buy more plays than I can actually read. They teeter dangerously on my nightstand and crowd my shelves like rush hour MUNI commuters. Orphaned about my apartment, these scripts stare longingly at me as I ignore them in favor of lesser entertainments. Yet I still thrill at the hunt every time I enter a new or used bookstore. I make a beeline for the drama section and comb the shelves looking for the next play that will inspire or corrupt, enlighten or injure, entertain or enrage. But after a recent trip to the Friends of the Library Book Sale (where I bought literally pounds of new plays), I have decided that enough is enough. I must read what I own.

Why not write about it as I go? Readers, here's the mission: I intend to work my way through the pile of plays on my nightstand (and shelves, and coffee table) to relieve my buyer's guilt and, perhaps, inspire a little critical discussion along the way. Twice a month, I will write reviews of the plays I have read, as a way of keeping myself accountable and exposing you the reader to writers new and old.

The Reading List:
The Shipment by Young Jean Lee, TCG
The Revenger's Tragedy credited to Cyril Tourneur (or Thomas Middleton, depending on what day of the week it is), edited by Lawrence J. Ross, University of Nebraska Press

The Shipment by Young Jean Lee, TCG

"Ever hear the one about the white theater critic and the black identity-politics play by the Korean-American writer?"
- David Cote, writing in the New York Times about The Shipment in 2009.

This play requires five actors. Four male, one female. All African American. The costuming and props are specific and integral to the script. The set for the first half of the show doesn't have to be much more then acting blocks, but the second half requires realism. I would not recommend this play for actors looking for monologues or scene work for classes and auditions unless guided by a coach or teacher. This play is not for the faint of heart--it pushes buttons and experiments with structure and narrative.

The Shipment is the first play by Young Jean Lee I have had the privilege to read. I knew I was going to love it before I even cracked the binding. I fell in love with Lee at first New York Times online review sight. I love a creator with mendacity/audacity/tenacity...and the talent and wisdom to back it up.

The play is really a treatise on the depiction of race in the entertainment industry (and specifically in live theatre). Using clichés and caricatures as her broad strokes, Lee builds her story so the audience is unsure of who the joke is on until the last line. The Shipment contains one of the most powerful endings I've ever read. I can't get it out of my head. The play is often funny, but each punch line is really a set up for the conclusion.

The Revenger's Tragedy by Cyril Tourneur (or Thomas Middleton or someone else...)

Fourteen or more speaking parts. Numerous nobles and judges and rabble. Only three women's roles. There's plenty of opportunity for double casting, but I wouldn't recommend changing the genders of the characters unless there is a specific concept in mind. This is an English language Jacobean tragedy, and can be performed with a unit set and basic props and costuming. Weapons will be needed as the last scene is an utter and all-consuming bloodbath. Good monologues for men, and some really great scenes for two or three actors. The question is: Is it a tragedy, dark with gruesome horrors...or is it a dark comedy, gruesome for its satirical treatment of horror?

Gratiana: No, he was too wise to trust me with his thoughts.
Vindince: I'faith then, father, thou wast wise indeed;
"Wives are but made to go to bed and to feed."

Women suffer page after page of this sort of treatment. When a woman isn't being raped, she’s seducing or killing or worse…whining. There are only whores and virgins in the world of this play, except all the virgins are raped and turned into whores. When a rapist is brought before a judge he says of his crimes: "My fault being sport; let me but die in jest." What a guy.

So, this play was not funny "ha ha." But, the more I read, the more absurd the treatment of women became and I began to wonder at it's purpose. Tourneur seems to be about pushing buttons, not unlike Young Jean Lee. The scenarios are so ridiculous, the plots so confusing, the twists so twisty that I couldn't help but find in these pages true flashes of satiric subversion and a devilish eyebrow cocked toward a bloody patriarchy.

A closing tip for voracious readers:

My favorite place to hunt for new plays is a university book store. If you've ever wanted to break into the reading lists of the best theatre minds in the country, run to the universities where they teach and stand in the bookstore line. San Francisco State University is an excellent resource for new plays. Yes, I order plays from Samuel French, TCG and Amazon, but for those days when I just want to browse and don’t want to be once again disappointed by a Borders or some other big chain, the SFSU Bookstore is a great place to go.

So…what are you reading?

Labels: , , ,


«Oldest ‹Older 1001 – 1027 of 1027
At August 27, 2022 at 8:37 AM , Blogger said...

We generally stay ahead to help the clients and give amazing client assistance administration. We are strongly suggested and presumed in the registry administration. You can visit our online interface whenever. You can settle on free coast decision with Turkish Airlines client assistance complementary number

Turkish Airlines Office Entebbe

At August 27, 2022 at 7:24 PM , Blogger mclayte said...

h7w40j5e10 l0h96t4i05 i8c27d2t03 o9p97b0d15 t0u45o6c59 v6r44p9k98

At August 29, 2022 at 8:54 AM , Blogger rigel said...

Find about the 5 best camping solar generators.
portable solar power generators

At August 30, 2022 at 12:16 AM , Blogger shathee said...

s4u33l7j86 s9j79y0i07 h9u46n1z40 h6z69b2w15 j7t78a8j61 q4y91u3t79

At August 30, 2022 at 11:19 PM , Blogger John Kent said...

We provide Website Digital Marketing Services for your business

At August 31, 2022 at 8:07 AM , Blogger said...

Wanting to partake in a lavish installed insight with British Airways? Indeed, you can utilize redesign choices to upgrade your movement on British Airways Booking flights. Be that as it may, Firstly, you might know the overhaul methods and strategies for moving up to a superior seat. Don't bother agonizing over anything and simply get your most obvious opportunity at the exceptional administration of British Airways!

British Airways South Africa office

At September 8, 2022 at 8:50 PM , Blogger ireland assignment help said...

Thank you for another informative blog. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such a perfect way ireland proofreaders

At September 12, 2022 at 6:35 AM , Blogger Justcol said...

Travelers need to pick their dates and objections to get everything rolling. The UK transporter permits a voyager to amount to six trips in its multi-objective flight. Thus, your flights might have long breaks or brief visits.

British Airways Hiroshima office

At September 13, 2022 at 10:55 PM , Blogger Nino Nurmadi , S.Kom said...

Nino Nurmadi, S.Kom
Nino Nurmadi, S.Kom
Nino Nurmadi, S.Kom
Nino Nurmadi, S.Kom
Nino Nurmadi, S.Kom
Nino Nurmadi, S.Kom
Nino Nurmadi, S.Kom
Nino Nurmadi, S.Kom
Nino Nurmadi, S.Kom
Nino Nurmadi, S.Kom

At September 14, 2022 at 2:17 AM , Blogger EIbass said...

Very interesting. I believe putting measures in place will be e a huge achievement. check nitda scholarship past questions pdf

At September 21, 2022 at 12:16 AM , Blogger Avelo Air Flights said...

The best digital marketing agencies in Kolkata are proven, industry experts.

At September 22, 2022 at 3:08 AM , Blogger Amol Vashisht said...

I really enjoy your blog, nice information to all who need it. Please keep sharing more such blogs. If you want to get the information about web design company. So, here you can get all details for it web design company in India, ecommerce website development company in India etc.

At September 24, 2022 at 4:03 AM , Blogger jeewangarg said...

Website designing company in Faridabad

Website designing is the digital platform to grow business. Jeewangarg is world's most popular Website Designing Company in Faridabad India. They understand the needs of client's businesses and provide 100% customized solutions for a cost-effective price.

At September 25, 2022 at 11:05 PM , Blogger Avelo Air Flights said...

These are the digital marketing agencies in Kolkata are proven

At September 28, 2022 at 11:15 PM , Blogger Sp Marketer said...

A high-income skill is a skill that you'll be able to leverage in order to get paid more in the marketplace. It's often a soft skill, like passion.

At September 30, 2022 at 11:44 AM , Blogger Benleach said...

Are you traveling from Safat on a Delta flight? Delta Airlines has set up many offices to assist their passengers with their needs. Delta Airlines City Office in Safat is one of its many offices from where flight management is done and customer queries are solved. There can be several issues where travelers need to visit the office and talk to the airline’s representative in person and get the verification of the documents done. To facilitate the same this office has been set up. From reservations to refunds and rebookings all customer care services are given here. Travelers can visit this office even if they have concerns regarding their baggage or name change.

At October 4, 2022 at 4:30 PM , Blogger 카지노 뉴스 정보 사이트 said...

Thanks man, looks a lot better! Thanks a lot for sharing this valuable 카지노사이트

At October 18, 2022 at 9:18 AM , Blogger Justcol said...

Before you start shouting that Avios (BA's own loyalty currency) don't offer great value and that the earning rates aren't particularly liberal, let me explain that what I really mean via 'airline miles' is Gold country Mileage, Plan Miles. You can credit your British airways flights to Gold country Mileage Plan and gather Miles (and elite status credits) there, rather than with British Airways' own Executive Club program.

British Airways Office Sierra Leone Address for Reservations

At November 22, 2022 at 8:52 PM , Blogger Dr Habib Raja MBBS, FCPS, Gastroenterologist in Lahore said...

Dr Habib Raja MBBS, FCPS, Gastroenterologist in Lahore

"Dr. Habib Raja is best Gastroenterologist in Lahore working as Consultant Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist at Akhtar Saeed Medical & Dental College. Where he is a part of teaching faculty. He has a vast clinical experience of more that 12 years in field of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Transplant Hepatology and Endocscopic procedures. He is expert in dealing pre & post liver transplant patients. Other than liver transplant, He treatment, stomach issues, Obesity management and Upper & Lower GI Endoscopic procedures are his major area of interest. He graduated from University of Health Sciences (UHS) and did his specialization in filed of Gastroenterology & Hepatology from King Edward Medical University (KEMU)."

Address: 7, Block M Phase 2 Johar Town, Lahore, Punjab 54782
Phone: 0311 6712017

gastroenterologist near to me

At November 23, 2022 at 10:18 AM , Blogger Dr. Noreen Huma (Consultant Gynecologist) said...

Dr. Noreen Huma (Consultant Gynecologist)

"Dr. Noreen Huma is a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist. She has vast experience of 20 years in Obs / gyneacology in different Public sector Hospital and currently working as Associate Professor in Continental Medial College / Hayyat Memorial Teaching Hospita"

Address: 7, Block M Phase 2 Johar Town, Lahore, Punjab 54000
Phone: 0311 6712017
gynecologist in Lahore

At November 23, 2022 at 10:49 AM , Blogger Dr. Yasir Nasir Pulmonologist in Lahore said...

Dr. Yasir Nasir Pulmonologist in Lahore

"Best Pulmonologist in Lahore Assistant Professor Dr Yasir Nasir is one of the best Chest Specialist in Lahore. Assistant Professor Dr. Yasir Nasir is a consultant Pulmonologist in Lahore with 13 years of experience. He has very special interest in Asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),Cystic fibrosis,Emphysema, Interstitial lung disease, Lung cancer, Obstructive sleep apnea, Pulmonary hypertension, Tuberculosis, Bronchiectasis, Bronchitis, Pneumonia, COVID-19 pneumonia, which can cause severe breathing problems and respiratory failure."

Phone: 0333 4976126
Address: 7, Block M Phase 2 Johar Town, Lahore, Punjab 54782
pulmonologist in lahore

At December 3, 2022 at 9:04 PM , Blogger SMM PANEL said...

best smm panel Stands For Social Media Marketing. It Is The Process Of Promoting Your Website Or Product On Social Media Sites.

At December 7, 2022 at 5:45 AM , Blogger Michael Haydon said...

Nice sharing. We are also providing trigonometry assignment help, case study assignment sample, humanities assignment help, business Intelligence assignment help, aerospace engineering assignment help, etc.

At December 7, 2022 at 5:46 AM , Blogger Michael Haydon said...

Nice sharing. We are also providing trigonometry assignment help, case study assignment sample, humanities assignment help, business Intelligence assignment help, aerospace engineering assignment help, etc.

At December 8, 2022 at 12:52 AM , Blogger 카지노 뉴스 정보 사이트 said...


At December 8, 2022 at 5:03 AM , Blogger Steps to Tackle Assignment Papers said...

Hi, I am Steve Johnson an education assignment help service provider. I have good experience in content writing. If you have any question related to education then you can connect with me for a solution at homework assignment help online

At December 8, 2022 at 10:44 PM , Blogger Gurukripa career Institute said...

Gurukripa Career Institute is one of the leading NEET coaching in Rajasthan. We provide comprehensive coaching to students to help them crack the NEET exam with ease. We have experienced and qualified faculty members who are dedicated to helping students.

«Oldest ‹Older 1001 – 1027 of 1027

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home